Galvezton vs. Galveston.
The following letter in reference to the origin of the name of our city will prove interesting to old citizens and those fond of etymology. Possibly some one else has something to relate on this subject:
Eds. News — It is generally conceded that our island was named after the Count de Galvez, who was Governor of Louisiana and Florida, and subsequently, Viceroy of New Spain (Mexico.) Etymologists were somewhat puzzled by the ending ton, which did not appear to be Spanish; but they disposed of the said vexatious ton, by pronouncing it a corruption of the word town, found in Charleston, Washington, etc.
The explanation, if handy, does not seem to be very plausible. Spainards were fond of sonorous names; the name “Nacogdoches,” long enough for our practical uses, they pronounced “La Mision de Nuestra Senor a del Pilar de los Nacogdoches;” the Brazos River was “El Rio de los Brazos de Dios,” etc.
It is, therefore, probable that to find a name for an island that had no town in it, they needed not to corrupt the little English word town.
Nestor Maxan, Esq., of Brownsville, has in his possession, and showed me, a Spanish law book, published in Madrid during the latter century, and dedicated to the Count of Galvez, then a boy five years old, and son of the former Viceroy, the godfather of our island. I found on the title page the escutcheon of the Galvez family, as follows, viz:
A ship under full sails, and on its side the word, “Galvezton;” above the ship a fleur-de-lis, the emblem of the Bourbons, the reigning family of Spain, with the motto “Yo solo” — I alone.
This would tend to prove that the word Galvezton existed several centuries ago in Spanish heraldry, but has become obsolete. I find, in a collection of decrees of the Mexican Congress, an act of 1825, to open the port of Glavezton. Galvezton again! Shall we be compelled to acknowledge the deplorable fact that we do not know how to spell the name of our own lovely island and city? Proh Pudor!
Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Jun 9, 1876
This is part of an article I found on the Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers website. There is more of it posted at this LINK, although, since they sell these papers, I don’t know how long the link will be good. (www.rarenewspapers.com for the home page.)
The ibiblio website has transcriptions for the following at this LINK:
FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
OF THE PROCEEDING OF CERTAIN PERSONS
WHO TOOK POSSESSION OF AMELIA ISLAND
AND OF GALVEZTON, DURING THE SUMMER
OF THE PRESENT YEAR,
AND MADE ESTABLISHMENTS THERE.
December 15, 1817.
Read, and ordered to lie upon the table.
PRINTED BY E. DE KRAFFT